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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 3, 2009

Big box on the ballot as 4 vie for 2 GOP lines

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — The GOP, divided over this election’s defining issue, will settle its ticket in the Sept. 15 primary.

The New Scotland Republican Committee endorsed incumbent town board member Douglas LaGrange and planning board member Charles Voss for the two seats up for election in November.  The pair, who ran together in 2007, share a similar philosophy regarding the future of development in town; they are wary and receive support from the citizens’ group New Scotlanders 4 Sound Economic Development.

Since Cazenovia-based Sphere Development first proposed building a Target-anchored shopping center at the intersection of routes 85 and 85A over a year and a half ago, the shape of development in town has dominated discussion.

On the other side of the debate, Roselyn Robinson and Timothy Stanton, both Republicans, oppose zoning restrictions, like a cap on the allowable size of retail stores.  Robinson announced her intent to force a primary early in the summer with Stanton joining later.

His sister-in-law, Karen Moreau, had been the GOP’s pick for supervisor until she stepped aside and the party replaced her with Michael Fields, a member of the Conservative Party.  He is not facing a primary challenge.

The four candidates vying for the Republican line in a race for two seats on the town board were asked this week about the major issues facing the town.  The questions were:

— Water:  New Scotland has no municipal water source and some areas of town are severely lacking in available water.  Candidates were asked what they would propose doing about it.

— Comprehensive plan:  The town’s last comprehensive land-use plan was completed in 1994.  Candidates were asked if it is outdated and if it should be updated or redone.

— Agriculture:  Candidates were asked if farming should be promoted and in what way.

— Process:  The last year and a half has been marked by controversy, which has brought many citizens to meetings where they have voiced their concerns, sometimes forcefully.  Candidates were asked how they would handle input from citizens.

Roles:  Candidates were asked about the role of town board members — should they act according to the will of the majority or seek out the minority?  How should these two groups be balanced?  They were also asked about the role of the planning board and to whom it is answerable.

— Political parties:  In an election that has candidates divided according to their vision for development rather than along party lines, candidates were asked what role political parties play.

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